Overview: Large river over a single drop in a park-like atmosphere. Location: Middlefield, CT Stream : Coginchaug River Height : About 15 feet. Finding : Requires travel on side roads with several turns. Use a good map. Access : Roadside (see directions below) or by way of a 1.6 mile hike. Swimming: Fully supported in Wadsworth Falls State Park (see below). Not at the waterfall. Basking : Yes. On the grass by the waterfall. Privacy : No. Legal : State park.
From route 9 take exit 15 onto route 66 west (0.0mi/0.0km). Follow route 66 through town. You will go by Wesleyan University and the junction with route 3. Continue along route 66 until you reach the junction with route 157 at 1.5mi/2.4km. Turn on to route 157 south. Route 157 is a narrow, winding road that runs through a pleasant residential area. It parallels the Coginchaug River, more or less, on the way to Wadsworth Falls State Park. You will come to the main entrance of the park at 3.0mi/4.8km.
If you park your car at Wadsworth Falls State Park you will need to hike along a trail approximately 1.6 miles to reach the falls. The hike is a pleasant walk in the woods. It is not difficult. The trail also goes by "Little Falls." This additional waterfall is an interesting and worthwhile stop.
The "Main Trail" leaves the picnic area at the state park. It is wide and obvious. About 1/3 of the way to Wadsworth Falls a cut-off trial turns toward Little Falls. The cut-off trail contines past Little Falls and rejoins the main trail some distance farther on. The main trail then comes down to route 159 where you can cross the river on the road and come to Wadsworth Falls. You can also get an interesting view of the falls from the south side of the river (before crossing) by walking through the brush and scrambling down the steep bank. In some places the bank on that side of the river is a vertical drop, so please be careful if you attempt to do this.
If you would rather avoid the hike to the falls you can drive to them instead. From the Wadsworth Falls State Park main entrance (0.0mi/0.0km) continue on route 157 south. At 1.1mi/1.8km turn left on to Cherry Hill Road. This occurs after you go through a small village. You will come to a fork in that village. Be sure you bear to the left. Once on Cherry Hill Road, continue to the parking area for the falls at 1.2mi/1.9km. The parking area is on the left just before the bridge over the Coginchaug River.
There are three different things that need describing.
The waterfall is not at the main park. Instead the park features an extensive picnic area and a lake for swimming. Facilities include: changing rooms, rest rooms, grills, and a telephone. The lake is clearly artificial. I do not know for sure what times of year swimming is allowed (or even possible). In late March when I was there, the lake was drained. There did not appear to be a fee for the park, but I was there out of season.
This waterfall is on a small tributary of the Coginchaug River. It might be dry during some times of the year. However, it is a very nice waterfall. The cut-off trail from the direction of the main park approaches this falls from below. It comes up the ravine from downstream and right up to the very base of the falls. From the trail you get an excellent view of the stream as it flows down over a large rocky outcropping in a curtain. The trail then climbs up to the top of the falls before rejoining the main trail.
The main falls is fairly large. The Coginchaug River is a considerable river so the quantity of water flowing over the falls makes for an impressive display. The river flows over a single, vertical drop of 10 to 15 feet in height. The area around the falls is well groomed and quite nice. There are a couple of picnic tables, but actually you could just spread a blanket on the grass and be comfortable. There are steps leading down to the falls, but the area is not overdone.
I visited these falls with my wife, Sharon, to get some digital pictures for this site. It was very warm today (around 90 degrees F) so we didn't do any significant walking. There was less water over the falls then I remembered from my last visit. This made the falls less imposing but in some ways more interesting. Instead of being a wall of water, today one could see the rocks over which the falls flowed.
Today was unusually warm. When I was at the state park, I saw several people there sun bathing! The leaves on the trees were just starting to come out and the streams were fairly high. The falls was full of water and made an impressive display.
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